The Kiss of Death? Bush Signals Support for McCain - Mercedes-Benz Forum

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-08-2008, 06:55 AM Thread Starter
Jakarta Expat's Avatar
Date registered: Aug 2006
Vehicle: PM me to Join the Expat Muslims for Obama Club........
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
Posts: 17,697
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
(Thread Starter)
The Kiss of Death? Bush Signals Support for McCain

Bush Signals Support for McCain

With the race to succeed him reaching a critical juncture, President Bush this morning began rallying the Republican base around its presumptive nominee, John McCain, and in the process tried to define his own legacy for the general election campaign to come.

In a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, Bush offered an implicit endorsement of McCain's bona fides as a true conservative in the face of deep skepticism on the right. Although he did not mention McCain by name, the president said whoever ends up being the Republican nominee will represent conservative values.

"We have had good debates and soon we will have a nominee who will carry aconservative banner into this election and beyond," Bush said. "The stakes in November are high . . . Prosperity and peace are in the balance. So with confidence in our vision and faith in our values, let us go forward, fight for victory and keep the White House in 2008."

The speech appears to kick off a new phase in which Bush and the Republicans try to put the wounds of the primary season behind them and figure out how to position themselves for the battle with Democrats still to come. Although former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee remains in the race, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney's withdrawal yesterday appeared to clear the way for McCain to claim the nomination and pivot toward the November election.

The president has remained officially neutral throughout the nomination fight but he agreed to give Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace an hour-long interview at Camp David this weekend to talk about the looming fall campaign. His speech to CPAC this morning had a valedictory tone that tried to cast his presidency as a time when he and the Republicans rose to new challenges and defended their principles against powerful odds.

Bush was received warmly by the conservative faithful. But the crowd cheered even louder when Bush paid homage to Vice President Dick Cheney, who he proclaimed "the best vice president in history."

The president then noted jokingly that his mother might disagree with that assessment -- an allusion to former president George H. W. Bush's two terms as the nation's second in command. But, Bush added smilingly, "my opinion is the one that counts."

Bush often professes not to be focused on what history will say about him and aides have said in recent weeks that he is not thinking about his legacy. Yet the speech repeatedly referred to his administration's accomplishments in the past tense.

He boasted of cutting taxes, reducing wasteful spending, drawing ethical lines in stem cell research and taking on drug abuse. With the exception of urging Congress to pass liability protection for telecommunications companies that have helped his administration's warrantless surveillance program, he devoted little of the talk to current issues or future promises.

Along the way, he offered a version of his tenure that would be hotly disputed by his foes. At one point in the speech, for instance, he said that the United States and its allies have made significant progress in defeating the Taliban and al-Qaeda. But violence has spiked in Afghanistan to the highest level since the U.S.-led operation that first dislodged the Taliban from power in 2001 and Bush's own administration has concluded that the situation there is worsening. Bush just agreed to send 3,200 more U.S. troops to try to reestablish security.

While vowing "to finish strong," Bush clearly is thinking about the dwindling number of days he has remaining in office. During a Middle East trip last month, he noted that he has "a timeline" of just 12 months and he later told mayors who visited the White House that he plans to settle in Dallas after his presidency. At the National Prayer Breakfast yesterday, he noted that it would be the last time he would address that gathering as president and reflected on his turbulent years in power.

"Prayer has strengthened me in times of personal challenge," he said. "It has helped me meet the challenges of the presidency. I understand now clearly the story of the calm in the rough seas."

Bush's endorsement of McCain's conservative credentials could carry some weight, since the two battled fiercely for the Republican nomination in 2000 and have quarreled in the seven years since over issues such as taxes, torture and the execution of the Iraq war.

In the waning days of his campaign, Romney sharply questioned McCain's conservative record by pointing out that the Arizona senator voted against Bush's tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. McCain now says he supports making those tax cuts permanent.

While Bush may be able to help close conservative ranks behind McCain, the Arizona senator may keep a certain distance once he shifts fully into general-election mode. Bush remains popular with the Republican base, but his overall public approval rating is mired at 33 percent in Washington Post-ABC News polls, making him one of the most unpopular presidents in modern times. Embracing him too tightly could be problematic in the fall, yet alienating him could cause problems within the party fold.

McCain has tried to strike a balance as he has campaigned over the last year. He strongly supported Bush's decision to send more troops to Iraq and may owe his political comeback in recent months to the security improvements yielded by the so-called surge. McCain also stood with Bush against the conservative base in pushing for a path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants, a plan both have backed off of for the moment to emphasize border security first.

Yet McCain has been vocally critical of Bush's pre-surge management of the war as well as his handling of Hurricane Katrina and other parts of his presidency. The senator has also passionately argued against some of the harshest interrogation techniques sanctioned by Bush that McCain considers torture, most notably a simulated drowning called waterboarding. When McCain describes his inspirations, he chooses Ronald Reagan, repeatedly calling himself a "foot soldier in the Reagan revolution."

But whether he likes it or not, he is now also a foot soldier following Bush, and the two will have to figure out how to fight the next battle together.
Jakarta Expat is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-08-2008, 07:13 AM Thread Starter
Jakarta Expat's Avatar
Date registered: Aug 2006
Vehicle: PM me to Join the Expat Muslims for Obama Club........
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
Posts: 17,697
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
(Thread Starter)
Gloves off: The Dem plan to hit McCain

Gloves off: The Dem plan to hit McCain

With John McCain poised to win the Republican nomination, Democrats are already gathering ammunition to use against him in the general election.

In more than a few instances, the best fodder has been provided by the candidate himself.

A case in point: As the economy was rising late last year as a major issue for voters, McCain in New Hampshire delivered this grenade, with its pin still in it: "The issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should," he said. "I've got Greenspan's book."

Those are not the only words that will come back to haunt him in November.

From the economy to Iraq to immigration to abortion, the Arizona senator's lengthy voting record and his primary season offerings to the Republican Party's conservative wing provide a deep vein for opposition researchers to mine for shifting positions and policy inconsistencies.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean is already moving to redefine the presumed Republican nominee. In a fundraising appeal sent out Wednesday, Dean called McCain "a media darling" and warned that "from Iraq to health care, Social Security to special interest tax cuts to ethics, he's promising nothing more than a third Bush term."

The tough part for Democrats will be making any criticism stick. Republican rival Mitt Romney tried to no avail. The sharp, eleventh-hour assault launched by conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh and a cadre of high-profile conservatives also failed to derail his candidacy.

Doug Schoen, a former adviser to President Clinton, says the Democrats must act quickly. "The trick is to get him on the flip-flops and not let him get back to the center where he can be a real force," he said.

The appeal of a flip-flop assault is that it could undermine McCain's reputation for taking tough stands and sticking with them no matter how the political wind blows.

Carter Eskew, a former adviser to Vice President Al Gore, puts it this way: "Go right after his strengths. Take the Straight Talk Express and push it off the rails."

Democrats are also convinced McCain is standing on soft ground on policy issues that are foremost in voters' minds. Tad Devine, a strategist to 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry, says those substantive critiques should be the first line attack.

On the economy, McCain has tried to distance himself from his self-deprecating comment about his understanding (or lack thereof) of the economy. But his attempts have fallen flat in part because he's made the mistake of alluding to the weakness more than once.

In 2005, he sat down with Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal, and said: "I'm going to be honest; I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated."

On the campaign trail, he's also suggested he'd look for a vice presidential running mate with strong economic credentials to balance weaknesses of his own. He tried to take that one back, too.

Those comments, coupled with McCain's relatively thin economic message, could leave him vulnerable to recasting by the opposition.

One broad theme that will be used against him is that he's offering little more than an extension of the Bush economic policies that have exacerbated the nation's wealth gap and brought about a return of giant deficits.

Democrats could also take some sharper shots at his economic plan, which centers on two core messages: cutting taxes and cutting spending.

On taxes, McCain's votes against President Bush's 2003 tax cuts and his explanation for them are likely to become major talking points. "I just thought it was too tilted to the wealthy and I still do," he said of those tax cuts. "I want to cut the taxes on the middle class."

Democrats are sure to argue that if the Bush tax cuts were "too tilted" toward the rich in 2003, they are only more so now.

McCain will have to square his previous comments with his call today to make Bush's tax cuts permanent and add new cuts for the middle class.

To recover the lost revenue from the tax cuts, McCain is promising to cut earmarks and wasteful spending-a line that plays well with his party's fiscal conservative wing.

On this point, the senator is on firmer footing since he's earned solid credentials on the issue by leading some major fights against pork barrel projects.

But his opponent could note that McCain's campaign is being led by Tom Loeffler, whose lobbying firm has made millions inserting earmarks into spending bills.

And McCain himself isn't exactly simon-pure on the issue. He has secured special funding for Arizona projects, including a $10 million allocation he sought for the University of Arizona to build a center honoring the late Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

McCain's unyielding support for the military surge in Iraq could be another troublesome area. While many Republican primary voters viewed his steadfastness as a sign of strength and leadership, his position will be more precarious when courting a general election audience.

According to a January Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll, 20 percent of registered voters want to withdraw immediately; 43 percent want American troops home within a year. Only 31 percent of registered voters - mostly Republicans -- said the troops should stay as long as it takes to finish the job in Iraq.

McCain was already facing those headwinds before he said in January that he "would be fine" with having American troops stationed in Iraq for 100 years, provided they were not being harmed or killed.

Democrats will leap on that remark to try to paint him as a warmonger, hopelessly out of touch with the American electorate and blind to their version of realities in Iraq.

They are also likely to push back against McCain's penchant for blaming the Iraq campaign's problems on former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

That rhetoric allowed McCain to criticize the pace of progress in Iraq without directly targeting Bush during the primary season. But Democrats will try to link McCain with Bush.

"The Iraq war wasn't just a bad strategy implemented by a bad secretary of defense. It was the wrong strategy for the president and McCain was in the middle of all of it," said Devine.

McCain's decision to highlight - and enhance - his conservative credentials for the primary race has created new general election vulnerabilities he didn't have during his 2000 presidential run.

The most potent argument the Democrats will make: That the McCain of 2008 is a paper-mache version of the Maverick McCain of 2000.

In 2000, many independent voters -- and even some Democrats - admired McCain when he took on the Rev. Jerry Falwell and conservative Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson by calling them "agents of intolerance" within the party.

This year, he courted both Falwell and Robertson in an effort to win over evangelical voters.

In 1999, McCain said he didn't want to see Roe v. Wade overturned because it could force "women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations."

Today, McCain says repeal of the landmark abortion rights Supreme Court decision "wouldn't bother me any."

On the volatile immigration issue, McCain saw his fundraising dry to a trickle last summer after he led the charge for Bush's comprehensive reform legislation.

Today, McCain has recalibrated his stance, saying he would push for strengthening the border to block illegal immigration before dealing with those already here.

McCain also has remained relatively silent on whether that means he would take up the Bush comprehensive bill anew after securing the borders - a question the Democrats will try to force him to answer.

Then there are the matters of McCain's advanced age and his temperament.

If he wins the general election, he will be 72 years old when he takes the oath of office, the oldest of any president. He's also had three bouts with melanoma, a skin cancer.

On the campaign trail, he's joked about his age and, at one point, casually suggested he might serve only one term. He's also said he's learned to control his temper.

Democratic strategists tend to discount either issue as a major line of attack on his candidacy, barring the sort of You Tube, "macacca" moment captured on film that derailed former Virginia Sen. George Allen's re-election campaign and presidential aspirations.

But that's not to say his opponents might not give it a shot. Obama this week on CNN seemed to be testing a line for a McCain match-up.

McCain should be honored for his "half a century of service to this country," the 46-year-old Illinois senator said, but he's "not the person who is going to lead this country in a new direction."

Gloves off: The Dem plan to hit McCain - Jeanne Cummings -
Jakarta Expat is offline  
post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-08-2008, 08:25 AM
Will Moderate For Cigars
cmitch's Avatar
Date registered: Apr 2005
Vehicle: 2002 ML320, 2005 S430 4MATIC, 2010 F150 Crew Cab
Location: City on the TN River
Posts: 10,673
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Quoted: 200 Post(s)
Lifetime Premium Member
Well, Bush isn't a true conservative so why should he endorse one?

2005 S430 4Matic 'Morton' W220.183 • 722.671 Rest in Peace

Bells and whistles are thorns and thistles.
cmitch is offline  
post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-08-2008, 09:07 AM
BenzWorld Member
SobeOne's Avatar
Date registered: Dec 2007
Vehicle: 1989 560 SL
Location: South Florida
Posts: 80
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
That kiss isn't half as deadlier as Teddy Kennedy's or John Kerry's. But probably as effective since McCain is half dead.
SobeOne is offline  
Sponsored Links

  Mercedes-Benz Forum > General Mercedes-Benz Forums > Off-Topic

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mercedes-Benz Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


  • Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
    Thread Tools
    Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
    Email this Page Email this Page
    Display Modes
    Linear Mode Linear Mode

    Similar Threads
    Topic Author Forum Replies Last Post
    Hillary is fake, Mccain is trash, Romney is another Bush, and Obama is too weak kdude87 Off-Topic 18 02-05-2008 09:11 AM
    Someone tell Bush what Support the Troops means. mcbear Off-Topic 58 11-09-2007 08:13 PM
    Prince's death = WWI, Gere's kiss = WWIII? Check Codes Off-Topic 2 04-26-2007 10:52 AM
    McCain Lets Loose on Rumsfeld, Will Bush Be Next? JimSmith Off-Topic 46 02-21-2007 11:06 AM
    Alec Defrawy calls for Bush to support Internet Reform and email reform acts. theindustrybuzz Off-Topic 0 01-05-2006 04:05 AM

    Posting Rules  
    You may post new threads
    You may post replies
    You may not post attachments
    You may not edit your posts

    BB code is On
    Smilies are On
    [IMG] code is On
    HTML code is Off
    Trackbacks are On
    Pingbacks are On
    Refbacks are On


    Title goes here

    video goes here
    description goes here. Read Full Story
    For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome